Higher Cholesterol Means Higher Premiums

You may already know that having high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels will result in higher life insurance premiums, but you may not know why. When you look at the mortality rates for these conditions, you see that the elevated premiums are beyond justified. Heart disease remains the number-one killer in the U.S., and high blood pressure and cholesterol are the two top contributors to heart disease. One in four Americans has elevated levels, and one in three has elevated blood pressure. When you combine these factors with your gender, weight, age, and lifestyle, they are the most critical determinants of your life insurance premiums.

The Threshold

When you apply for a term life insurance policy, you will likely have to submit to a medical examination, during which they will measure your blood pressure and draw blood to measure your levels. If your blood pressure is at or above 140/90, you are considered hypertensive and probably will not qualify for preferred rates. For cholesterol, you want your levels below 200 in order to get the best premiums. If you take medications to manage your health and, as a result, your health is normal, you could still qualify for preferred rates with some companies. For the most part, insurers only care what your levels are when you apply for your policy, not how you manage them.

What You Can Do

If you find out that your levels are elevated and don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for an insurance policy as a result, you can take fairly easy steps to begin reducing your cholesterol. Here are four things you can do to improve your overall health:

  1. Eat right. Diet is a huge contributing factor. Generally, the more animal products you eat, the higher your levels will be. Avoid foods with elevated amounts of saturated fats, such as egg yolks, fatty meats, and full-fat dairy foods.
  2. Exercise. Increasing your physical activity even modestly can have a decent effect on your health, lowering triglycerides and boosting your good HDL. Any aerobic activity that gets your heart rate up will do.
  3. Drop some weight. Losing weight can lower your bad LDL cholesterol levels and improve your overall health. Focus on cutting calories after you’ve started eating right and exercising.
  4. Consider medication. If diet, exercise, and weight loss don’t bring your health under control, then you might want to talk to your doctor about medication. The most commonly prescribed drugs are statins, like Crestor and Lipitor. Your doctor might also recommend niacin to get your levels in the healthy range.

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